3

votes

Rolfing... Will it save me from slouching?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 27, 2011 at 9:30 PM

I've been worried about my constant slouching for years, and it's only getting worse (I am 24 years old). Sitting at a computer all day makes it even tougher to keep my shoulders from rounding.

I just had a conversation with my Aunt who swears by this technique called "rolfing". It sounds ridiculous, but she says it simply just works. She now brings here 8 year old, and my Uncle just started going to improve his posture.

I am looking at it as a possibility, but it's a little pricey. From what I understand it's $120 a session, and you have to sign up for 10 sessions. That being said, if it works, it could be worth it.

Do you have experience with rolfing or know people who have done this?

2e29c32e37ffbc96ba0b5e312f4712a5

(65)

on February 29, 2012
at 10:57 PM

You also may want to seek out a "SI" (Structural Integration) therapist. Same thing as Rolfing, different name, and some price it cheaper... That is, if cost is a factor in changing your life :)

2e29c32e37ffbc96ba0b5e312f4712a5

(65)

on February 19, 2012
at 04:48 PM

No. I've gone back for a few "tweaks," but if anything Rolfing has helped me be more in touch with how my body should feel. I went through the series 4 years ago and have been back twice. The therapist that did the session was great about showing me stretches and exercises to help maintain the work.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 18, 2012
at 03:33 PM

BTW, I don't do all the stuff in that book. The sitting therapies, like stretch-sitting, I consider mostly a waste of time for me, but the hip-hinging, tall-standing (I'm 6'4" now), and glide-walking are useful. I still incorporate the maintenance exercises from Pete Egoscue's Pain Free book.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 18, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Slouching is what you're used to doing so it's hard to break the habit and it has to be a conscientious effort. Without pain there's not much motivation. When the pain comes, then the incentive is there and it's very easy to be conscientious because you will be reminded 24/7 and it changes your priorities. It's good you're researching this now. I wish I had known it.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 18, 2012
at 03:03 AM

Also, it was created by a man who was rehabilitating men in a military hospital. Very manly.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 18, 2012
at 03:02 AM

Absolutely. It's all about posture, alignment, core strength. Stretching is a huge part of this. Freeing up the tight spots, strengthening the weak spots. Movement becomes efficient and graceful. The muscles that don't have to work, don't. Most people see profound changes. It's pretty great!

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:53 AM

Not too familiar with pilates. Does it have a large stretching/postural component?

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:52 AM

Does the exercise ball help you sit up straighter? Or does it just make you more conscious of your posture?

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:50 AM

Are you consistently going back to get work done to your body?

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:50 AM

Haven't tried that. I can't remember where, but I heard that standing all day might be bad for your back. Perhaps another common wisdom rumor, although I feel like it was on some paleo blog/podcast.

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:48 AM

You know, I actually found this book on http://huntgatherlove.com/reads. It's been fascinating although I am still finding it hard to practice everything. I've made it through the first couple chapters and I can definitely feel the difference. I still slouch considerably. I guess I just need to get it in my head that it will take longer than I think to correct all these years of bad posture.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 16, 2012
at 04:03 AM

Actually I never read The Egoscue Method of Health. The one I read was his later Pain Free. I forgot that he wrote the earlier one.

Dbbc316ff61d1204d89b080d1c4e09ee

(88)

on February 16, 2012
at 03:27 AM

I second the recommendations for both Gokhale and Egoscue. Her book costs about $15, and his book (The Egoscue Method of Health) costs about $11. There's enough material in both books to keep you improving for years. And if you can find a good t'ai chi ch'uan instructor, and with a lot of work on your part, TCC can lead to profound structural changes.

B76f22ed4373946b3c8990b667562683

(783)

on February 15, 2012
at 11:42 PM

Strengthening muscles is absolutely up to the individual, but postural imbalance is just that—an imbalance. Strengthening muscles is useless if hypertonic, chronically facilitated and shortened muscles are not broken from their cycle of tightness. Wherever there is weak musculature, there is accompanying tight musculature, and vice versa. Google "upper crossed syndrome" to see this concept in action. It is possible to work out these problems on your own, but not with the same excellent results achieved by someone trained to manipulate the body.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on February 15, 2012
at 11:05 PM

Rolling-on-the-floor-laughing? I hear laughter is the best medicine. Oh wait... Nevermind.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on February 15, 2012
at 10:25 PM

I've been getting Rolfed every three weeks for many years. As for slouch-proof seating, the best for me has been the Swopper Chair, which is a simple stool that wobbles on a base that is a big steel spring. For all the hype and expense, the Aeron Chair was a total waste of money.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on February 15, 2012
at 04:16 PM

Hi, Brandon. :) I have known folks who had great results from Rolfing. I took Alexander lessons for many years and found it one of the best things I ever did. I tried Rolfing, but preferred Alexander work. Rolfing movement classes are fun, thought.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 15, 2012
at 03:58 PM

Adding a link to her page on sitting - http://egwellness.com/what-hurts/lower-back-pain

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 08, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Good advice! Before spending much money I'd research which exercises would strengthen my back muscles to balance the push/pull. I remember as an adult discovering that I never used my back muscles to pull my shoulders back--couldn't even do it consciously, as I had only used the chest muscles to push. I did finally establish a nerve pathway and can now either push or pull, but that was an illuminating moment.

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14 Answers

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6
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 15, 2012
at 03:50 PM

NO! It will not save you from slouching. Slouching will make you need more rolfing.

Esther Gokhale wrote an excellent book on primal posture that covers principles I wish I had known decades earlier. Could have saved me a lot of future grief. In it she covers the history of slouching going all the way from old photos in the 1800s and early 1900s, showing people with perfect upright posture, up to when slouching first became fashionable in French magazines in the 1920s. Even shows how furniture gradually evolved to accommodate slouching. She covers traditional cultures and ancient statues and one begins to realize that slouching is a rather modern (neolithic?) phenomenon.

Over time as one ages, certain muscles begin to shorten and others begin to lengthen depending on what positions you hold for lengths of time and your muscles are what ultimately hold your skeleton in shape. Imbalances gradually become set in place with reduced range of motion. Just doing exercises may not necessarily correct shortened muscles and could even make it worse without doing the proper ones.

Pete Egoscue also wrote a book in which he states that people need to throw away braces and supports and train your muscles to hold yourself in place and there is a lot of truth to this although I make it a point use chairs that encourage sitting properly.

Rolfing and chiropractors may be useful at times and I have certainly seen my share of chiropractors over the years, but ultimately there is only one person in charge of your muscles and posture and and that's you. A rolfer or chiropractor can't strengthen muscles needed to hold your skeleton in position. Only you can do that and you can do it for free. In the primal, functional way of thinking, rolfers and chiropractors may be working to make you well, but they are focusing on a symptom after the fact and it's best to never need them at all and save the money. I worked my way back from a severe back problem in '08 and haven't seen a chiropractor in a couple of years now. N=1.

Gokhale's website - http://egwellness.com/ Just sitting upright my not be enough without understanding some of the principles she goes into. I've incorporated hip-hinging into my life and it's second nature now. Well worth the time to learn early.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 15, 2012
at 03:58 PM

Adding a link to her page on sitting - http://egwellness.com/what-hurts/lower-back-pain

Dbbc316ff61d1204d89b080d1c4e09ee

(88)

on February 16, 2012
at 03:27 AM

I second the recommendations for both Gokhale and Egoscue. Her book costs about $15, and his book (The Egoscue Method of Health) costs about $11. There's enough material in both books to keep you improving for years. And if you can find a good t'ai chi ch'uan instructor, and with a lot of work on your part, TCC can lead to profound structural changes.

B76f22ed4373946b3c8990b667562683

(783)

on February 15, 2012
at 11:42 PM

Strengthening muscles is absolutely up to the individual, but postural imbalance is just that—an imbalance. Strengthening muscles is useless if hypertonic, chronically facilitated and shortened muscles are not broken from their cycle of tightness. Wherever there is weak musculature, there is accompanying tight musculature, and vice versa. Google "upper crossed syndrome" to see this concept in action. It is possible to work out these problems on your own, but not with the same excellent results achieved by someone trained to manipulate the body.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 16, 2012
at 04:03 AM

Actually I never read The Egoscue Method of Health. The one I read was his later Pain Free. I forgot that he wrote the earlier one.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 18, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Slouching is what you're used to doing so it's hard to break the habit and it has to be a conscientious effort. Without pain there's not much motivation. When the pain comes, then the incentive is there and it's very easy to be conscientious because you will be reminded 24/7 and it changes your priorities. It's good you're researching this now. I wish I had known it.

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:48 AM

You know, I actually found this book on http://huntgatherlove.com/reads. It's been fascinating although I am still finding it hard to practice everything. I've made it through the first couple chapters and I can definitely feel the difference. I still slouch considerably. I guess I just need to get it in my head that it will take longer than I think to correct all these years of bad posture.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 18, 2012
at 03:33 PM

BTW, I don't do all the stuff in that book. The sitting therapies, like stretch-sitting, I consider mostly a waste of time for me, but the hip-hinging, tall-standing (I'm 6'4" now), and glide-walking are useful. I still incorporate the maintenance exercises from Pete Egoscue's Pain Free book.

3
2fbba2cfe386a13fd7888ccc0c50fe92

on August 28, 2011
at 01:32 PM

Have you considered modifying your desk to be on where you stand instead of sit?

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:50 AM

Haven't tried that. I can't remember where, but I heard that standing all day might be bad for your back. Perhaps another common wisdom rumor, although I feel like it was on some paleo blog/podcast.

3
C221a8c9efba0c80d03b9f84a2b3b3f9

on August 28, 2011
at 02:03 AM

Massage/Bodywork will be more effective when combined with strengthening and stretching. The often seen slouched forward posture is due to tight anterior chest muscles (pectoralis group) and weak posterior chain muscles (middle trapezius, rhomboids,erector group) simple exercises with light weights or a resistance band can wake up a more functional engagement(neuro-muscular facilitation) and diminish your discomfort. As a bodyworker myself I suggest the least invasive and minimal financial output first, by getting some tips from a good fitness trainer on how to make stretching and strengthening your areas of concern a regular part of your routine.If that doesn't give you the results you are looking for then by all means Rolf away.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 08, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Good advice! Before spending much money I'd research which exercises would strengthen my back muscles to balance the push/pull. I remember as an adult discovering that I never used my back muscles to pull my shoulders back--couldn't even do it consciously, as I had only used the chest muscles to push. I did finally establish a nerve pathway and can now either push or pull, but that was an illuminating moment.

2
Medium avatar

on February 15, 2012
at 08:13 PM

Roling is great work, but it is not some panacea. I've been through the 10 series plus numerous advanced (post-10) sessions; no regrets, loved the results. For a while, the Rolfing community was claiming the results are "permanent" and "lasting," but the simple truth is: the influence of gravity is by no means negated by Rolfing or any other form of bodywork. Slouching and slumping are habits, correctable whenever one is willing to bring one's awareness to posture and alignment. Consider getting a Balans chair. They make it hard not to sit up straight! The more you notice how it feels to sit and walk with a straight spine, the more normal it will feel.

http://www.officechairadvice.com/ergonomic/kneeling/reviews/balans-ergonomic-chair.html

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on February 15, 2012
at 10:25 PM

I've been getting Rolfed every three weeks for many years. As for slouch-proof seating, the best for me has been the Swopper Chair, which is a simple stool that wobbles on a base that is a big steel spring. For all the hype and expense, the Aeron Chair was a total waste of money.

2
2e29c32e37ffbc96ba0b5e312f4712a5

on February 15, 2012
at 01:27 AM

I've gone through Rolfing and it absolutely changed my life. It was a little pricy, but the benefits far outweighed the cost. Not only help my posture issues, but flat feet, and opened up my sinuses too.

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:50 AM

Are you consistently going back to get work done to your body?

2e29c32e37ffbc96ba0b5e312f4712a5

(65)

on February 19, 2012
at 04:48 PM

No. I've gone back for a few "tweaks," but if anything Rolfing has helped me be more in touch with how my body should feel. I went through the series 4 years ago and have been back twice. The therapist that did the session was great about showing me stretches and exercises to help maintain the work.

2e29c32e37ffbc96ba0b5e312f4712a5

(65)

on February 29, 2012
at 10:57 PM

You also may want to seek out a "SI" (Structural Integration) therapist. Same thing as Rolfing, different name, and some price it cheaper... That is, if cost is a factor in changing your life :)

2
Db2afb7704e2acf07be6fa8680801d00

on February 08, 2012
at 08:21 PM

I got Rolfed 35 years ago... it changed my body so much I had to learn how to do it.

2
8f46bdba543e1ea2c3818f4b243ff040

on August 27, 2011
at 10:36 PM

The best thing you can do for your posture is to improve the function of your proprioceptive receptors in your muscles (tiny nerve endings in muscles that send messages to your brain about where your body is in space). While Rolfing can help with that a little bit, it can only take you so far. The massage therapist in my office does some of that, but it's only $60 per session. Of course specialty and experience can play a role, I might check around on cost as that sounds high to me. You can google proprioceptive exercise, but it should always be done in a mirror or with a professional to make sure your form is correct. It's mostly balance exercises. Talk to a well respected chiropractor in your area for referrals or advice in this area.

1
1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 15, 2012
at 09:48 PM

Try Pilates...it works wonders for people who slouch,and you'll learn how to use perfect posture in everything you do (drive a car, sit at a desk, etc). If you start with private lessons and then move into mat classes once you are familiar with the technique, you'll get great value too.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 18, 2012
at 03:02 AM

Absolutely. It's all about posture, alignment, core strength. Stretching is a huge part of this. Freeing up the tight spots, strengthening the weak spots. Movement becomes efficient and graceful. The muscles that don't have to work, don't. Most people see profound changes. It's pretty great!

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 18, 2012
at 03:03 AM

Also, it was created by a man who was rehabilitating men in a military hospital. Very manly.

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:53 AM

Not too familiar with pilates. Does it have a large stretching/postural component?

1
Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on February 15, 2012
at 07:20 PM

I have done this (actually, I did 12 sessions of Structural Integration, which is based on Rolfing). I don't think it's useless, but I wonder if $1200 ($120 x 10 sessions) will be a good value for you, unless you have a lot of disposable income. At best SI was for me an interesting deep tissue massage with some postural awareness lessons thrown in. You can learn about posture and movement from library books and audio (above mentioned Gokhale, Egoscue, Feldenkrais, also Alexander). You can use techniques like foam rolling to "break up adhered fascial tissue" (I am skeptical that this is what actually happens), stretching and mobility exercises to "gain length" and then strength training with good form to strengthen your muscles.

1
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on February 15, 2012
at 01:33 AM

Rolfing made me cry.

But in a good way.

I think you should address the slouching issue a bit more holistically though. Sitting on an exercise ball at my desk at home and at work has resolved my own slouching (and I've been doing this crap (IT) for 13 years now). Spending time while at your desk to actually stand up and stretch helps. Not leaning into the lumbar support and raising your chair so that your arms rest naturally at your keyboard will also work wonders.

Try those things, AND the rolfing... I think you will see an improvement.

Dee5e2114d04df635590bed67d90389c

on February 18, 2012
at 02:52 AM

Does the exercise ball help you sit up straighter? Or does it just make you more conscious of your posture?

1
F6ea948ab43dc51d72509c0989e670fe

(1639)

on August 29, 2011
at 09:52 AM

I don't know about rolfing...I'm sometimes leery of stuff like that.

I do know that in my case, squats, deadlifts and presses helped with my posture. As well as a good dose of mobility WOD + thoracic spine mobility work with a foam roller.

1
Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

on August 27, 2011
at 10:55 PM

Rolfing is good. Feldenkrais is excellent. They're both excellent actually. But really at the end of the day, you have to make the effort to change the habit. Retrain your muscles. Change the "muscle memory".

0
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 15, 2012
at 01:14 AM

I can't say much for Rolfing, but I just improvised a slouching solution. I put my computer on a stack of books. It means my arms are higher when I type, but it also means I am sitting more upright. It's not perfect, but my neck is thanking me.

0
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on August 28, 2011
at 03:03 PM

It is a great technique. I did the whole thing, and insurance paid for most of it. I am not sure if your insurance will cover posture issues, but mine covered physical therapy for an injury, and my rolfer just referred me to a friendly doctor in my network. But, it won't fix things permanently if you don't follow up with good behaviors.

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